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By Brian Beach
Nebraska Public Media, Jan. 2, 2024

On Monday, Nebraska’s minimum wage increased to $12 an hour, making it the 18th highest state minimum wage in the country and one of 25 states increasing its minimum wage this year. In 2022, Nebraska voters passed an initiative raising the minimum wage from $9 an hour up to $15 an hour by 2026, increasing by $1.50 each year. After that, the wage will be adjusted in accordance with cost of living increases.

Dave Titterington has owned the Wild Bird Habitat Store, with locations in Lincoln and Omaha, for more than 30 years. ... Titterington said he expects higher wages to correspond to more spending money for consumers.

“Those employees that we pay those wages to, they're going out, they're buying gas, they're going to the grocery store, they're paying for housing, and they've got money that they can go shopping,” he said.

In Hastings, small business owner Mikaela Krueger said higher wages could have an even bigger positive benefit, since the cost of living is lower than in Lincoln and Omaha.

Krueger is the owner and founder of Optika Curated Eyewear, where she says she has paid her employees well above the minimum wage for several years. ...

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